​BAR DISPUTE RESOLUTION GROUP FORUM (Counsel Forum)

Minutes of Meeting held on January 25, 2013

Members Present:                                                                          

Joseph Rizzotto (Chair)                         
Audrey Ramsay
Stanley Pasternak via telephone
Pamela Quesnel via video conference
Paul Belanger
Catherine Zingg
Elizabeth Wilson
Marni Miller
Jason Frost
Albert Conforzi
David Raposo
Alex Voudouris
 

FSCO Attendees                                                    

John Lobo
Elizabeth Nastasi
Isobel Fealdman
Shayna Wiesenfeld
Margaret Orlander
Erin Nam
Christina Pearce
 
  1. Meeting on November 30, 2012.
    Approved as amended. 
  2. E-Calendar/DRCD for Arbitration:
    Elizabeth N. (Senior Arbitrator) discussed the launching of E-Calendar in Arbitration Unit, with an expected start date of late spring 2013, and becoming mandatory by the fall of 2013. A demo at companies and counsel forum will be held before the go live date.
  3. Court of Appeal Decision and Impacts on Process:
    Further to the Ontario Court of Appeals Decision on November 29, 2012, John L. (Manager, Mediation Unit) provided an update on the process impacts for mediation. Applications filed on or after November 29, 2012, are being processed and assigned the E-Calendar within a couple of days of receipt. Parties who filed applications for mediation with FSCO more than 60 days ago were reminded to submit a form to FSCO, which is on the website indicating that they either jointly agree to extend the time for mediation, or that either party wishes to receive a failed Report of Mediator. If FSCO does not receive this form from parties, by default, their applications at this time will remain in queue for assignment to a mediator. A reminder that wait-time for mediation is expected to decrease as ADR is continuing to receive up to 2,000 mediation files per month.

    Elizabeth N. gave an update on procedures for incoming arbitration files where there is no Report of Mediator issued. These files are being processed through the normal procedure but the Manager in Arbitration Support Units have been making individual calls before they proceed to further processes. Further changes on procedures are being developed on these files.
     
  4. Status of S. 55:
    Margaret Orlander gave an update on operationalizing section 55.  There are some challenges that would need to be worked out.  FSCO is reviewing this situation.
  5. 60-Day reports of Mediator:                                                       
    John Lobo confirmed that where a 60 day failed Report of Mediator is requested and issued, the type of benefit in dispute is noted with no specifics, as there was no mediation on any of the issues or a clarification of the issues in dispute.

    It will be up to the parties at the next stage of the dispute resolution process to substantiate the issues in dispute.

    FSCO is continuing to send all duplicate Applications for Mediation received to the Insurer, in these cases. Regarding added issues, parties should have in their possession requests for added issues, as required under the DRPC.
  6. Private DR Service Update:

    Isobel F., Director, Strategic & Operational Planning provided an update on ADR Chambers for three months. Up to 2000 mediation files/ month have been shipped out since September and sent up to 500 arbitration files/ month since October. To date ADR Chambers has received 8,000 mediation files and 1,500 arbitration files. There have not been any major complaints on their service. A discussion followed in regards to enquiries and suggestions during the meeting. Isobel will follow up on all of these with ADR Chambers.  Isobel F. reminded the group to provide her with specifics on complaints (mediator name and file number) so that ADR Chambers can address them.
  7. DRS Status Report – Statistics and Staffing Updates

    John Lobo and Elizabeth Nastasi provided statistical updates for Mediation, Arbitration and Appeals with reference to the reports distributed to members.

    Judicial Review:

    Updates since November 2012 were provided in a memo from Asfaw Seife to Forum members and reviewed.

    Under Staffing:

    Mediation Unit:

    Mediator competition completed and both permanent and backfilled positions have been filled. Competition for a manager in mediation support unit and a team leader will be posted shortly.
  8. Proposed Amendments to address the deeming provision in the Regs. And DRPC:
    Government announced in Spring 2012 Budget a review of DRS would be conducted.  That review will be under the direction of Ministry, with an independent person as the Chair of the review.
     
  9. Other Business:

    The Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force:
    Margaret Orlander, Senior Policy Consultant, AIPU gave a brief update on the Final Report of the Ontario Automobile Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force Steering Committee. Counsel Forum members received the link to access the report via website prior to the meeting. Report answers the two questions posed in the terms of reference regarding the extent of auto insurance fraud in Ontario and recommended measures to deal with it.

    Greening Initiatives 
    For more environmentally friendliness, ways to reduce use of paper were discussed by Elizabeth N. Use of electronic communication for sending out registration letters such as emails was suggested but will need further consideration due to privacy issues. Parties also have been informed to discontinue sending multiple copies. Also, web/video conferencing using Microsoft LYNC were tested in Counsel Forum meeting.

    Mediation Unit has been encouraging parties and will be sending out a reminder to only submit relevant documentation with the Application for Mediation or Response Form, and not extensive briefs or entire files.

    Adjournment/rescheduling pilot in Mediation:
    John L provided an update on the new 6 month pilot initiative effective Jan 2, 2013. He explained why the pilot was initiated, when and how it is applied anticipated outcomes and that the pilot will be evaluated at the three and six month mark..     
Next Meeting – March 22, 2013